Russel L. Honoré
LT.Gen., U.S. Army (Retired)
I think in the spirit and soul of MLK , we should remind the leaders of this great nation that we have three "streets" in America not two.
There is Wall Street. When things go bad they get a golden parachute, or a bail out, or a rescue plan, with no accountability. If they get caught, the max penalty is 5 years in jail, or house arrest, until trial.
Then there is the much talked about Main Street, the middle class, who own small businesses, they are skilled workers with jobs, they teach , they are doctors, and lawyers, bank workers, and Internet gurus. When things get bad they down-size, lay folks off or get laid off, and don’t buy that new car this year or postpone that vacation to the islands or to Europe or Africa, or they give up the idea to have a cabin at the beach or in the mountains.
The third street in America is “Railroad Street.” It’s a street where nearly a third of America lives, indigent lives dependent on minimum wage jobs, a public health system, low-performing public schools, where the streets are not safe. In many towns this is a place not just a metaphor - towns divided by the railroad , e.g. the 9th ward in NOLA. It’s that place in America where as much as 50% of the male student s do not graduate from high school.
The folks on Railroad Street are the first to lose their jobs, the folks on this street, live on the edge every day, they don’t get to eat a balance diet, or go to the dentist, they don’t get annual physicals, they only go to the doctor when they get sick.
As we celebrate the great accomplishment that will occur tomorrow, let's use the power of the message in the coming days and weeks, to shed light on the realities of life on “railroad street.”
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